Spring is here — and so is your new favorite sandal. Just when it felt like the ‘90s had no other fashion gems left to give, the decade generously offers up the return of a shoe that, by the looks of an Instagram feed nearest you, is about to dominate the warmer months ahead. That must-try throw back is none other than the effortlessly sleek, strappy sandal trend.
Also referred to as the naked or "barely there" heel depending on who you’re talking to, the minimal style features straps so thin that it can look and feel as though you’re not even wearing any shoes at all. Consider it the footwear equivalent of a slip dress — the functionality of the heel height makes them easy to throw on and go with virtually anything. Simple in design? Sure, but they're the furthest thing from boring.
And while the strappy style is still on a strong upward climb, it’s safe to say that Phoebe Philo tipped us off on the trend with Old Céline’s infamous “Nude” sandals, a pair of muted red cage heels from the brand’s 2018 resort collection, with teeny straps that resembled literal pieces of string. That pair is waning in circulation (and now eBay gold), but the torch has thankfully been picked up by runway heavyweights like Tibi and The Row in recent seasons, along with cult favorite brands like By Far and Staud, revitalizing the style for right now.
“We’ve been seeing this major reboot of key 90s styles, and this is arguably chicest silhouette from this trend,” says Marissa D’Elia, who handles trend concepting at Urban Outfitters. “ I love how this sandal can take you from a relaxed boyfriend jean to bike shorts and mini dresses as the weather changes.”
Lucky for you, they really are that versatile; and depending and you'll find all of the inspo to prove it. Scroll on to see how the strappy, barely there heel has made its mark on the runways and your Instagram feed, and shop a few favorite picks below.
Thalia Leather Mules
Arguably the most subtle iteration of this trend is the two-strap style, and chances are you've already seen this sleek take from By Far on your feed.
The knotted leather detailing and cylinder-shaped heel make for a perfect and unique hint of texture and shape.
Doris Leather Sandals
Made in Spain with delicate, smooth leather, these spicy magenta heels would look just as good with your favorite worn-in jeans as they would with an equally spicy dress.
Intimidated by the highlighter neon trend? Allow these relatively subtle kitten heels to be your entry point.
Venus Faille Sandals
With a slim mid-heel, sharp square toe, toe-loop detail, all covered in black faille silk, this pair from Neous is screaming '90s prom — and it's so good.
Wood Heeled Leather Sandal
Zara's walkable heel makes this sweet navy sandal an easy everyday option, and the price tag makes it even sweeter.
Naima Suede Sandals
Over the top in the best way, this pair by Amina Muaddi — an It Girl in her own right — combines the best parts of architectural construction and '90s glam.
Because everyone needs a neutral, walk-able heel that isn't boring.
The tubular straps add an easy cool dimension and shape to the foot, much like the hi-shine effect of the leather.
Bare Leather Sandals
A trophy pair of the barely-there sandal category, this modest and minimal style from The Row features supple leather straps that cradle the foot.
Leave it to Staud to hit on just about every It style in its first ever shoe collection, including these moody blue wedges.
Nashi Leather Slingback Sandals
Lean into a casual look with the natural colored sole, flip-flop-like strap between the toes, and sculptural kitten heel.
Leather Straps Sandals
Mango is a forever favorite for making affordable pieces that still look luxe, and this strappy, melon-colored pair is a perfect example.